tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV August 28, 2015 9:00am-9:31am PDT
is becoming too powerful. nobody wants germany to go it alone. if germany gets too strong, it will be isolated. if it is not strong enough, it can't lead. what lies ahead for europe and its ideals of peace and prosperity? coming to you from berlin, "quadriga," the international debate. your host this week, peter craven. peter: welcome to this latest edition of "quadriga." as you've already heard, the question we are asking on today's show is, a german europe or a european germany? it is part of a week of special programming we are doing on dutch about -- deutsche we lle, asking where will europe go next? to talk about all this and more, i'm joined by three seasons observers and analysts. let me introduce them to you. beginning with judy dempsey, a
writer and analyst for the carnegie financing who has always worked with a host of international broadcasters. judy asks the following, where and what is europe without germany? without angela merkel, europe would be weakened even further. also with us is writer and journalist alan posener, a regular commentator for the berlin-based "die welt." angela merkel has forgotten that lesson, and as a result, he says europe is falling apart. and, it is nice to welcome back ursula weidenfeld, who has worked for a range of germany's most prestigious business publications as an editor and commentator. ursula says if people want germany to exercise power, they shouldn't grumble when it does. judy dempsey, today's debate is
based on a quote from thomas mann. it goes back to the postwar period. the nobel prize-winning author said at that time, the people in germany should try and create not a german europe but a european germany. was he right? judy: that is a long time ago. a lot has changed. i think, looking back, germany became european in terms of -- through the european union, by the way. what i mean by that is that the democratic institutions became absolutely embedded. the idea of transparency, federalism, accountability, separation of powers, it became embedded in germany. in that sense, germany became
european. to take up mann's other point, the german's asian -- the germanization of europe, this cannot happen and should not happen. peter: all this, trying to get germany integrated into a european superstructure, it was a terrible century and germany play a terrible role in the last century. people were clearly fearful of germany. should they be fearful of today's germany? judy: it depends -- alan: it depends what you mean by fearful. all talk of a new fourth reich is nonsense. honestly, it is nonsense. but i do think there is a danger that germany is getting too big for its votes and it is trying to create a europe according to a germanized europe, and it
isn't working. people are protesting against the use of the euro to create europe in germany's image. people won't say it out loud unless they are demonstrating. i think this has alienated a lot of people in europe and will alienate them further. peter: what is wrong with creating europe in germany's image if germany is a model democracy, a progressive country, what is wrong with europe being cast in that mold? alan: there's nothing wrong with being progressive and democratic. germany is not want to lecture anybody else on that subject. the other thing is, there's cultural differences, economic differences. you cannot even transform all of germany into what southern germany is at the moment. look at berlin.
look at brandenburg. look at the eastern federal states of germany. they are not performing the way southern germany is performing. you can't get southern europe to conform to the way west germany is performing. it is going to create more friction. peter: a british journalist, i don't remember how long ago it was, he called germany the best germany we've ever had. not saying much, says alan posener. is this -- if this is the best germany we've ever had, why should people be afraid of german power? >> i think people shouldn't be frightened about germany's power. i think germany is a country which tries not always in a charming way, not always in an amazing way, to the european, to
be a good european. i think it is becoming better. peter: but the good european believe greece recently. alan: i don't agree. ursula: it was trying to hold greece within the eurozone. it was trying to make them obey the rules, which are written down. it was trying to make all the others ready to pay for greece once more. peter: judy is shaking aphis that you. judy: this question of bullying, i guess agree with this. -- i disagree with this. many countries hid behind germany. sometimes, merkel is very quiet. fundamentally, this europeanization is not about
making a moralistic culture. this is about dealing with globalization. this is what the euro crisis is about. there are several countries in the eurozone that should never have joined the euro and one of them is greece. germany was pushed into doing this for many reasons. short lot and merkel, schaeuble sees it as europe being prepared. nobody is naive enough to believe germany can go on with this huge -- we haven't even seen the beginning of globalization and how it is going to affect european values. this is the crux of the issue, how to keep the roof together to make europe competitive. judy: if this is -- alan: if this is about globalization, how come you have in the eurozone the worst growth of any?
they've got a much better growth than the eurozone. germany -- judy: this is a great point, alan. you have antiquated structures in france. no wonder france is against the big reform package for greece. it is very interesting. everyone uses switzerland, a great model of modernity. what happens? they thought they could get away with not being impacted by globalization, meaning i don't want to advertise american silicon valley. they were caught napping and in some ways, the eurozone crisis is a symptom of this sleeping. peter: let's talk about germany
again. alan made a very important point, that germany is working to establish the euro as a zone of influence, as its own backyard, and the man who personifies that more than any other is the german finance minister. we will have a look at some pictures now. the mood can get pretty ugly. >> southern europeans have turned him into a voting man. wolfgang schaeuble is used as a taskmaster who wants the rest of europe to adopt german ideals. he and his vision for europe came out on top in a tough marathon of negotiations, but he didn't make many friends doing it and he angered important partners, france and italy, in the process. until now, compromise has been a key aspect of diplomacy in brussels as germany's
uncompromising finance minister. peter: ursula weidenfeld, wolfgang charla comes from germany's southwest. what does that tell us about him? ursula: he is probably the last real european in the german government. peter: the last real european in the german government has been accused of beating up other countries. ursula: i think this is wrong. it is completely wrong. what he does is fight for saving europe, saving the eurozone, in order to make europe stronger and to make europe safe from being destroyed by economic differences, by financial differences and things like that. peter: jan is mara focus, the -- yanis varoufakis, the former
greek finance minister, he's gone further than that. he said, there is no doubt in my mind that wolfgang schaeuble has used the eurogroup as his own playground. ursula: that is an impression -- if i had been the greek finance minister in the last month, the greek had different views on europe, on the eurozone, because they had to agree to reforms, because they had to apply for more money. they had to at least accept the conditions. peter: what is wrong, duty, about germany insisting on fiscal probity and strict budgetary practice? judy: it was not only germany. it was northern europe as a whole. the greek foreign minister, he perhaps used his power as a
playground as well. just look at the countries that supported germany. slovakia, the baltic states, ireland, which is now turning positive, spain and portugal. spain and portugal told schaeuble, don't weaken. we've gone through austerity measures. it will pay off. the short-term is miserable, but if you give into greece, it was a waste of effort. there were many in the eurogroup that actually supported germany in this. to answer your question, yes, the measures are very tough. peter: it is a good point that you are making, that many members of the eurogroup did view germany as their champion. nevertheless, alan, i was fascinated to read the leading british tory, the london mayor boris johnson, saying that wolfgang schaeuble, the german finance minister, is the man with a gun in his hand.
is that the way you see it? alan: i wish it hadn't been boris johnson who said that. for a man who changes his opinions more often than he does his underwear. he is still right. the fact that other countries have pushed germany to the floor doesn't make it better. wolfgang schaeuble is a true believer. he honestly thinks you can create a viable european union by pushing incompatible economies together. it is not going to work. it has destroyed so much trust, so much within europe, and alienated countries like poland, like britain, who are out of the euro, who are now very -- they are scared.
the true believer is almost tragic. the true believer, schaeuble, is destroying europe. peter: therefore, must the next step for the german government be to get wolfgang schaeuble out of the picture, because he has become a liability in european relations? alan: he is so old, he's going to be out in a year or two anyway. it is necessary for the german government to develop a new vision for europe which is more inclusive. ursula: but why hasn't the german government -- it is a strange image to create. alan: i wish it were britain, quite frankly, but david cameron seems to the totally disinterested in europe. so who is there? peter: this is the big problem, germany is leading because the
other great nations in europe cap league. the brits don't want to. the french -- judy: the french can't. it is totally complicated, because the whole idea of europe and its future is now becoming so ideological and polarized, and probably this is the first time for a long time -- forever perhaps -- that the whole idea of europe has been questioned. it does behoove germany to actually lead this discussion, and chancellor angela merkel doesn't lead this discussion. we have two chancellors in germany, the german chancellor who looks after the ukraine issue particularly, and in a british sense, the other chancellor, schaeuble, who actually wants to push europe forward. not, allen, in germany's likeness. it is impossible, i agree.
but wolfgang schaeuble knows the logic of this euro crisis has to be more integration. it is a bit of a -- ursula: nobody will agree to that. britain won't, the french won't, the greek want. if you have to change the european treaty, you won't be successful. wolfgang schaeuble has to find ways around, in between, and doing things like that. judy: can i just say one thing? this is intellectual laziness on the part of the leaders. it is something else. there is this idea that we can't raise the issue. we have to discuss the issue. two fundamental reasons. one is globalization. second, we have the faltering of the transatlantic relationship. we have the other side of the
atlantic saying to europe, get your act together, do the burden sharing, get your euro together. stop leaning on uncle sam. peter: give me one word, each of you, maybe two if you can, what the eu stands for today. ursula: humanity. alan: diversity. peter: judy dempsey? after deep thought -- judy: unfulfilled wishes. peter: ok, humanity, diversity, unfulfilled wishes. here is more on the same question. >> since it was founded, the european union has stood for peace, prosperity, and shared values like human rights. the agreement signed in 1990 led to open borders and free
movement of goods and people. the eu, practically every country on the continent wanted to be a member. especially in eastern europe, where nations could hardly wait to join the union and later the eurozone. but now, the bloc faces major problems. the financial crisis. the greek debt crisis. a huge surge in the number of migrants trying to get in. more and more countries are distancing themselves from european values, like britain and hungary. for many, the eu stands mostly for bureaucracy, a callous attitude toward those in need, and a mountain of debt. can europe be saved? peter: what most people agree is that europe needs a new narrative. how could the new narrative look, alan posener? judy: -- alan: in a time of relative
american decline, the rise of other powers such as india and china, and a very aggressive russia to the east, we need to get our act together. we need to develop power in every respect. one of the points about this disastrous euro crisis has been, it hasn't led to europe developing anything. it has led to us neglecting the european issue. it has led to europe -- you could say that europe basically is germany, france, britain, and poland. these four are not working together. this is what needs to happen. i'm talking about the transatlantic trade. we need to establish our western values, not just purely european
values, in the world of tomorrow. i'm absolutely pro-european, which is why i'm so anti-euro. peter: ursula, is that a narrative you share for the future of your european union? ursula: i don't, but the majority of europeans would share that. they are not so much interested in foreign policy. they are not so much interested in military things. they are interested in economy and wealth, and living in peace, and traveling freely through europe. i think one of the narratives, or the only narrative europe can develop an has to develop, to be the continent of humanity, to stand for human dignity, to be fair to refugees, and people who suffer in their homeland.
that is the big issue for europe for the upcoming years. that is the issue europe has to connect its values with. peter: it is an attractive vision. whether it is going to galvanize the young people of europe, what do you say, judy? judy: this is a complicated question. the tragedy of europe is that it still, despite islamic state, despite russia's invasion of ukraine, we still seem to be living in a conference own that can be isolated -- a comfort zone that can be isolated from this. the refugees finally are waking us up and checking our values. i have one narrative, but it is going to take such effort. it is a narrative of confidence. if we believe in these values, if we believe after so many
years of wars on the continent, if we believe we overcame this and created something very special, why don't we sell it? why do we lack self-confidence? ursula: because nobody would buy it. judy: i know that sounds very fast i'll or naive. it is not stuck in the institutions in brussels or making decisions behind closed doors. it is about town hall meetings. it is about explaining who we are. why do we have these values? peter: what role could germany play in this? judy: chancellor merkel has tried to do some town hall meetings. germany has an enormous role in this. by actually creating clusters of small and big countries together. helmut kohl, former
chancellor, was terrific at this. he would bring up his friend in paris, the hague, and say, if you do this, i'll do this for you. it is compromised. these trade-offs have to be rediscovered. peter: one minute for alan. germany's role in moving europe forward. alan: engage more with great britain. that is your bridge to the united states. engage more with the united states. try to bring france back into the fold, and don't concentrate so much on rules and regulations , because that is not the way business is done. concentrate on bringing europe forward. peter: ursula? ursula: concentrate on economics and make europe become one of the -- the continent of wealth and growth, and the other hand, concentrate on human rights and make europe to the praised for
-- it is known that people who have to leave their countries are well coming of friends and of humanity. judy: more open, more competitive, look after the younger generations. keep them here. we need them. peter: one last question. i'm curious to hear from either you whether europe has reached and passed its high point or whether we are looking to a glorious future? alan: we've passed the high point of the union. if we abandon that, we could get to a glorious future. judy: [indiscernible] [laughter] peter: we have to leave it there. i want to share with our viewers one quote from a publication that i was reading when i was preparing for the show. it said, clearly there is one thing worse than being dominated by germany in the eurozone, and that is not being dominated by
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